The recently broadcasted burning alive of a Jordanian pilot by ISIS terrorists shocked and horrified me. I couldn’t bring myself to watch it, but the vivid description of the gruesome act as told by Shepard Smith of Fox News (himself obviously shocked by it) was enough to bring tears to my eyes. I sat in stunned silence for a few minutes, unable to grasp such unspeakable evil.
I grieved for the life that was so glibly and gleefully snuffed out by evil men. I grieved for the family back in Jordan who suffer such a public, heinous loss of their loved one. I grieved for a nation, horrified at such brutality inflicted upon one of their sons. I grieved for all the souls still trapped in the despicable grip of those sorry excuses for human beings. And I grieved for our world, full of such wanton violence.
In Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, King Theoden of Rohan, his people facing annihilation at the hands of Saruman’s orcs, asks the question many of us must feel in these times- “So much death. What can men do against such reckless hate?” I find myself, as a Christian, praying not for the salvation of these evildoers, but for their swift and violent destruction. I know the Bible teaches us to “love your enemies, and to pray for those who use and abuse you.” Yet after reading, hearing, or watching the steady, almost daily litany of horrible brutality foisted upon innocents by the likes of ISIS, Boko Haram, Al-Qaida, Taliban, etc., my heart would rather pray for the deliverance and salvation of those they oppress, and for the judgment of the oppressors.
Aragorn’s answer to King Théoden’s question is, “Ride out with me. Ride out to meet them!” We must not let evil hold sway. We must meet it head-on. To rescue those under it’s terror, and to defeat those who would perpetrate such atrocity. Though I feel helpless to do anything over here in my little corner of the world, I can pray, I can speak with my voice and my key stroke, and I can demonstrate the life and love of the Savior to those God has put in my own path. And I know evil will fall one day. God says so in His Word. A day of reckoning is coming for such reckless hate. (see Revelation 20:10, 14-15, 21:4)
I long for that day.